Monday, August 16, 2010

Setting the record straight

It will be two weeks tomorrow, since I cut short my stint with the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee where I was employed as a Director for Press Operations and returned home.
It was with a tinge of sadness that I returned because I never thought I will return without completing my contract. Besides, I was enjoying what I was doing in Delhi and made many new friends.
Never mind that me and the four other Malaysians hired were under-payed as compared to all the other foreigners from the other nations. In fact, we were the lowest paid.
Not to mention we were giving poor accommodations as compared to the other hires.
But work wise, despite a few hiccups, I settled in well and was happy that I could contribute and my experienced mattered.
However, one person soured everything for me. Form day one I never heard anything nice said about him, but I did not allow that to affect my working relationship. In fact, we got along fine. But his problem was that he was insecure and was picking a fight with almost everybody. A few in my division had resigned because they could not work with. And with the ones, even higher ranked officials, he did not see eye to eye (one too many actually), he did not anyone in his division to integrate or share any information with them.
But my decision to leave was when he did not have any respect for me and was upset just because I attended a meeting which was chaired by higher ups in the Organising Committee(OC) and which saw even the chairman of the OC, Suresh Kalmadi attend.
That was the last straw and I decided to leave.
But last week, I was shocked when a former colleague of mine in Delhi emailed to me to say that I was mentioned on the front page of The Hindustan. (view here here and read here and here)
I had hoped return home and get back to work with my company without any fanfare but it was not to be.
As it turned, Bernama in Dehli, picked up the story and sent to Malaysia and the next day it was on several websites, blogs, radio stations and back-page of Utusan Malaysia.
There was nothing wrong with the story and I stand by whatever was mentioned in the newspapers, except that I did not agree with heading in the The Hindustan - Now Racism charges hits OC.
And in Malaysia, no one bothered to check with me if the report was true and went ahead to use the article without even getting a quote from me!
I never mentioned that we Malaysians were subjected to racism in my emails. All I said that we were treated unfairly as compared to the other foreign hires in terms of wages and accommodation. Besides, I am of Indian origin (my grandfather was from India) and how can the charge of racism against me, stand at all!
The way things turned out, it made me look like a sour grape and the reports in Malaysia even made it out that I had released the story when it was The Hindustan who got possession of my two emails - one was my resignation letter and the other which I sent to the Olympic Council of Malaysia secretary-general, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi, to keep him informed of the conditions the Malaysian hires were subjected too (we went to Delhi through the assistance of OCM).
I have a clue how the newspaper could have got hold of my resignation letter and I have no qualms about it because it was the reasons why I resigned.
But my other email to Dato Sieh was meant to be a private email, which I had sent a copy to one of the other Malaysians in Delhi because I had mentioned his problems he was facing in Delhi. It was just meant to be a copy for his reference. But I found out from him  that he had shown it to The Hindustan reporter, which he should not have.
In the end, it looked like I was the "bad boy" as this person who showed the letter and had the same grievances, was conveniently not mentioned by the newspaper.
In any case, I have spoken to this person, and I hold no grudges against him, as I can understand his predicament and he was merely trying to get some better conditions for the Malaysians in Delhi.
And whatever mentioned in both the emails were the truth, except that it was not a RACISM issue!
I just hope the report will see the remaining Malaysians given better conditions as they are all professionals like the rest of the hires and doing their jobs to their best of the ability.
As for me, I am going to miss the Commonwealth Games and it sad, because I had wanted so much to see whatever I had imparted to see implemented and make situations of the Media personnel better.
I hold no grudges against anyone and only returned richer in experience, gained an insight to working environment in India and made many new friends who certainly made my three-and-half-months a memorable stay.
I hope this clarification clears the air and puts things in the right perspective.
And I am very confident despite all the negative publicity the Games has been receiving of late, everything will go on well. I will write more about it in my next posting.

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